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Northumberland proposes £25m in cuts and council tax hike, but promises over half a billion in capital investment

Proposals for £25m worth of cuts, higher taxes, and £589m in capital spending have been put forward by Northumberland County Council in its detailed budget for 2019-20 and its medium-term financial plan for the next three years.

The council needs to make savings of £36m over the next three years, and has identified efficiencies and cuts worth around £12.8m for the coming year – as well as proposing a council tax rise of 2.99% “to protect vital services.”

Council leader Peter Jackson said: “We’re making good progress against the very difficult financial position we inherited while still delivering the most ambitious capital programme the county has ever seen.

“We feel these budget proposals strike a fine balance of spend and save.

“We’re committed to our promises of investing in Northumberland’s future and delivering the very best services for everyone who calls the county their home.”

But the county council said it is making huge strides in improving education standards and attracting new investment as the new North of Tyne £600m devolution deal progresses.

Northumberland has proposed its biggest ever capital programme of investment of £589m over the next three years, with flagship projects such as two new leisure centres in Berwick and Morpeth, a new Enterprise Zone in East Sleekburn, new schools, and progress on the Newcastle to Northumberland rail line.

Jackson added: “As a snapshot, over the next three years we’re looking to spend £142m on our schools, £60m on regeneration projects, £44m on improving our leisure offer, and £43m on housing.

“We’ve worked tirelessly over the past year to balance our books, and we’re confident we’ll be delivering a deliverable but ambitious budget.”

The budget will be considered by the full council on 20 February.

Northumberland is one of the councils involved in the ‘once-in-a-generation’ North of Tyne devolution deal unveiled by Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry in November 2018, which is expected to generate £1.1bn and 10,000 jobs in the local economy.

Devolution and investment across the Northern Powerhouse will be the focal point of this year’s EvoNorth  - free to attend for qualifying civil servants. Don’t miss your chance to attend, visit the website here.


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